Tag: Western New England

Noonan: An Exciting Finish Awaits Numerous Small College Football Teams

Jack Maguire and the Salve Regina University football team scored an important win last weekend against Endicott College. (PHOTO COURTESY: Tammy McManaway/TAMMY MCMANAWAY SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY)

By Matt Noonan

To say the next three weeks of the small college New England football season will be fun – and yes, exciting, too – would be an understatement.

For starters, we have quite a few conference races to watch these next few weeks, including one that currently features four teams in the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) league.  

Endicott College appeared to be a lock to win their first-ever conference crown since 2013 when they, along with other members of the CCC, competed in the New England Football Conference (NEFC). But unfortunately, things changed this past weekend as their three-game conference winning streak was snapped with a 21-14 setback to Salve Regina University.

Luckily, it is just one loss – Endicott currently holds the head-to-head tiebreakers over Husson University and Western New England, who are also in the mix for the league crown. But to win the conference, the Gulls will need to beat their two remaining foes – Nichols College and the University of New England – as well as get some help from their rivals: Salve Regina and Western New England.

Salve Regina has beaten Nichols and UNE but needs to win their final two contests against Curry College and Husson.

Western New England beat Salve Regina in their first conference meeting of the 2021 season earlier this month before falling to Endicott one week later. The Golden Bears will be idle this weekend but conclude their regular-season slate with back-to-back contests in November against Husson and UNE.

And while all the attention is currently on Salve Regina following an exciting win this past weekend against Endicott, one should certainly not overlook Husson, which has won two of three league matchups, as well as scored some impressive non-league wins against Plymouth State and Springfield College.

As of now, it is hard to project a winner of the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) league, but we should have a better gauge this Saturday.

Speaking of Springfield College, they are also in the mix for their conference crown in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) but need to win their remaining three contests, including their matchup this weekend with the University of Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA).

The Mariners have been a great story this fall, winning seven consecutive contests to match their best start in program history. They scored an exciting 44-34 win this past weekend against Catholic University, thanks to both Ian Blankenship and Brian McGovern, who combined for five touchdowns, including three on the ground.

Springfield has beaten USMMA in two of their last three outings, including twice at home in 2017 and 2019.

Like the Mariners, the Pride has also become a team to watch over the last few weeks after rebounding from a 1-3 start by winning their last three contests to bump their overall record to 4-3.

David Wells and Isaiah Cashwell-Doe headlined Springfield’s most recent win against WPI.

Saturday’s matchup between the Pride and Mariners is scheduled for 1 p.m. – the contest will be held in Springfield, Massachusetts.

South of Springfield – West Haven, Connecticut, to be exact – will feature another important matchup to follow as Assumption College visits the University of New Haven on Saturday, October 30 for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

Both teams enter the ninth week of the Division II season in contention for the Northeast-10 Conference (NE10) crown – UNH has not lost a single conference game this fall while Assumption has won four of five league meetings. Assumption could win the conference, but they need to win their final three outings, including two against the top two squads in the league.

Bentley University was idle this past weekend but has been a great story as they have not lost a game since October 12, 2019, and head into the final three weeks with a great deal of momentum.

The Falcons will be at home this weekend against Franklin Pierce before visiting New Haven next Saturday, November 6. It is possible the Falcons and Chargers could enter the week ten matchup without a single conference loss.  

Noontime’s New England D3 Top 20 Poll (Oct. 25, 2021)

By NoontimeSports.com

Welcome to the ninth week of the 2021 New England NCAA Division III college football season — are you ready for another for a big week of football?

This week, along with the next two, will help us determine what teams will compete in either the national postseason or the New England Bowl(s).

So, without further ado, let’s get excited for another week of football with our latest Top 20 poll.

1. Salve Regina University (7-1, 3-1 CCC | LW: No. 5): The Seahawks return to the top of our poll following a come-from-behind victory against Endicott College.

2. Trinity College (6-0, 6-0 NESCAC | LW: No. 2): A big matchup awaits the Bantams this week against the Ephs of Williams College.

3. Endicott College (6-2, 3-1 CCC | LW: No. 1): The Gulls drop two spots after seeing their 14-6 lead disappear in the fourth quarter last Saturday to Salve Regina.

4. Western New England (5-3, 3-1 CCC | LW: No. 4): Make it back-to-back wins for the Golden Bears who are still in the mix for their conference crown.

5. Williams College (6-0, 6-0 NESCAC | LW: No. 3): Another week, another victory for the Ephs.

6. Framingham State (5-2, 5-0 MASCAC | LW: No. 6): Are you ready for the Kelley Cup this Saturday?

7. Bridgewater State (5-2, 5-0 MASCAC | LW: No. 7): The Bears rolled past Westfield State this past weekend but face a UMass Dartmouth squad that has won three straight since falling to Western Connecticut earlier this month.

8. Wesleyan University (6-0, 6-0 NESCAC | LW: No. 8): The Cardinals shut out Middlebury College at home and will look to continue their midseason momentum against Amherst College this weekend.

9. UMass Dartmouth (6-2, 4-2 MASCAC | LW: No. 9): Don’t be surprised if these Corsairs hand the Bears of Bridgewater State their initial conference setback of the season on Saturday.

10. Husson University (5-2, 2-1 CCC | LW: No. 10): The Eagles bounced back from a week seven setback to Endicott with a big win against the University of New England.

11. Springfield College (4-3, 3-0 NEWMAC | LW: No. 11): Make it three-straight wins for the Pride, who now face their toughest test of the season: the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USSMA).

12. Anna Maria College (5-1, 3-0 ECFC | LW: No. 12): Did you know the AMCATs are in first place in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)?

13. Plymouth State (3-4, 3-2 MASCAC | LW: No. 13): Make it three-straight wins for the Panthers, who will look to even their record with a win on Saturday against Westfield State.

14. MIT (3-3, 1-2 NEWMAC | LW: No. 17): A dramatic second-half comeback helped the Engineers outlast Norwich University.

15. Amherst College (4-2, 4-2 NESCAC | LW: No. 20): The Mammoths posted their first shutout of the season last Saturday against Hamilton College. Will this win translate to a big victory this weekend against Wesleyan?

16. Massachusetts Maritime Academy (4-3, 3-2 MASCAC | LW: Not Ranked): The Buccaneers returned to the poll following an impressive 22-20 win over Western Connecticut.

17. University of New England (3-4, 1-2 CCC | LW: No. 15): A big challenge awaits the Nor’easter this weekend at Endicott.

18. Western Connecticut (3-5, 2-4 MASCAC | LW: No. 14): The Colonials will attempt to snap a three-game losing streak on Saturday at Worcester State.  

19. Colby College (2-4, 2-4 NESCAC | LW: No. 19): The Mules will look to bounce back from their week eight setback to Trinity with a CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) victory against Bates College.  

20. Bates College (1-5, 1-5 NESCAC | LW: Not Ranked): These Bobcats have provided some challenges to Wesleyan and Williams this fall, so don’t be surprised if they finish their 2021 slate with two – maybe three? – more victories.  

Noontime’s 10 Games to Watch (Week Eight)

 DJ Brown and the Springfield College football team will look to continue their recent success on Saturday against WPI. (PHOTO COURTESY: Springfield College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

The eighth week of the New England NCAA Division III football season is almost here – are you excited?

Last week, we picked seven of ten matchups correctly to bump our overall record to 50-20, so let’s see if we can continue this momentum one week later.

Have a great day (and weekend, everyone) – we’ll be taking a mini-vacation the next few days, but look forward to recapping the action on Sunday while slowly looking ahead to the ninth week of the 2021 season.


FEATURED GAME: Endicott College (6-1, 3-0 CCC) at Salve Regina University (6-1, 2-1 CCC) Saturday, October 23 at 12 p.m.: This is a must-win for the Seahawks, who are still in the mix for the conference crown. Endicott has looked pretty good these last two weeks, especially last weekend against Husson University. PREDICTION: Endicott 28, Salve Regina 24


Keystone College (0-7, 0-3 ECFC) at Castleton University (3-3, 1-1 ECFC) Saturday, October 23 at 12 p.m.: The Spartans return from their bye week as one of four teams in the mix for the conference crown, so this particular matchup is a must-win for the Green and White. PREDICTION: Castleton 23, Keystone 16

Massachusetts Maritime Academy (3-3, 2-2 MASCAC) at Western Connecticut (3-4, 2-2 MASCAC) Saturday, October 23 at 12 p.m.: Both teams are eager to bounce back from week seven setbacks – we expect the team wearing Blue and Orange (the Colonials, to be exact) to squeak out their fourth win with a late touchdown drive. PREDICTION: West Conn. 28, Mass. Maritime 21

Springfield College (3-3, 2-0 NEWMAC) at WPI (1-5, 0-2 NEWMAC) Saturday, October 23 at 12 p.m.: The Pride have won back-to-back conference games but could be tested against an Engineers squad that provided challenges to the top team in the conference: the United States Merchant Marine AcademyPREDICTION: Springfield 30, WPI 20

Nichols College (2-4, 0-2 CCC) at Western New England (4-3, 2-1 CCC) Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.: The Bison seemed to provide some challenges for the Seahawks last week, but these Golden Bears know this is a must-win contest so they can remain in the conference championship mix with Endicott (and yes, Salve Regina, too). PREDICTION: Western New England 30, Nichols 17

Husson University (4-2, 1-1 CCC) at University of New England (3-2, 1-1) Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.: Both teams are in the mix for their conference crown with one league loss, so this is somewhat an elimination game. Look for the Eagles to bounce back after losing to Endicott last weekend by a touchdown. PREDICTION: Husson 30, UNE 21

Norwich University (2-5, 1-2 NEWMAC) at MIT (2-3, 0-2 NEWMAC) Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.: We picked against the Engineers of Cambridge last week (and maybe earlier this season?), so let’s pick them this week against the Cadets. PREDICTION: MIT 28, Norwich 17

Tufts University (0-5, 0-5 NESCAC) at Bowdoin College (1-4, 1-4 NESCAC) Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.: We picked against the Polar Bears the last two weeks, but we expect their recent victory over the Mammoths, which snapped a 14-game losing streak, to provide them with enough momentum to edge the Jumbos on Saturday. PREDICTION: Bowdoin 28, Tufts 25

Dean College (2-5, 1-2 ECFC) at Anna Maria College (4-1, 2-0 ECFC) Saturday, October 23 at 1:30 p.m.: Look for both teams to put up some points in this one — in the end, we expect the AMCATs to score one more touchdown than Dean. PREDICTION: Anna Maria 35, Dean 32   

Westfield State (0-6, 0-4 MASCAC) at Bridgewater State (4-2, 4-0 MASCAC) Saturday, October 23 at 4 p.m.: The Bears return from a week off with a matchup they should win, however, these Owls did not make it easy on the UMass Dartmouth Corsairs last week. PREDICTION: Bridgewater State 29, Westfield State 14

Noontime’s D3 Football Teams to Watch in Week Eight

Andrew Boel and the Bowdoin College football team scored their first win against Amherst College last weekend since 2005. (PHOTO COURTESY: Brian Beard)

By NoontimeSports.com

The eighth week of the 2021 New England NCAA Division III college football season is quickly approaching, which means it is time to highlight five teams to watch this weekend.

Anna Maria College (4-1, 2-0 ECFC): The AMCATs have been quite a story this fall, winning four straight contests, including a pair of Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) victories to keep them in the hunt with Gallaudet University for the league title.  

This week, the AMCATs return home after three straight road games to host Dean College, which captured the ECFC crown in 2019.

Dean returned to the win column last week with a 39-36 victory over Keystone College – the Bulldogs defense held off a late rally by the Giants, who finished the final frame with three touchdowns.

At 1-2, Dean is not entirely out of the conference mix but would need to win this game to keep their postseason hopes alive.

Quarterback Alex Cohen was instrumental in his team’s last win over Alfred State – expect the veteran signal-caller to continue his success this week against the Bulldogs.

Bowdoin College (1-4, 1-4 NESCAC): Last Saturday was a special day for the Polar Bears as Bowdoin snapped a 14-game losing streak to Amherst College with a 21-14 victory.

The seven-point win over the Mammoths should provide the Polar Bears with some momentum heading into this week’s clash with Tufts University.

Quarterback Andrew Boel has been a player to watch these last two weeks – against Amherst, he completed 22 of 28 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns.

Boel connected with eight different receivers, including Colton Fahey who caught a pair of touchdowns while finishing with a game-high 112 yards on five grabs.

As a team, Bowdoin registered 421 yards of total offense compared to Amherst, which finished with 340. Additionally, they converted seven of 12 third-down attempts.

Bridgewater State (4-2, 4-0 MASCAC): The Bears return from their bye with hopes of extending their current winning streak to five games.

Like Framingham State, Bridgewater State rebounded from an 0-2 start with four straight wins, including a pair against two squads that earned spots on this week’s Top 20 Poll: Plymouth State and Western Connecticut.

In their last outing against Worcester State, the Bears leaned on halfback Adam Couch, who rushed for a game-high 190 yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns. Brendan Albert led the defensive with a game-high 13 total tackles, including five solo stops, one pass break-up, and one fumble recovery.

Look for their momentum prior to their bye week to continue Saturday against Westfield State.

MIT (2-3, 0-2 NEWMAC): After starting their season by winning two of three contests, the Engineers have dropped their last two outings, including a 56-34 setback last Saturday against the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USSMA), which saw wide receiver Ben Dwyer record a career-best 224 receiving yards on nine grabs to go with one touchdown.

Dwyer was named to this week’s D3Football.com Team of the Week and was one yard shy of matching the MIT single-game record for receiving yards, which was set 33 years ago.

Dwyer, along with the Engineers will look to avenge their last two conference losses when they host Norwich University on Saturday, October 23 at 1 p.m.

The Cadets will arrive in Cambridge with one conference win, but a victory against Norwich means MIT could gain some much-needed momentum heading into their final three contests against Coast Guard Academy, Springfield College, and WPI.

Salve Regina University (6-1, 2-1 CCC): The Seahawks have rebounded quite well since dropping their initial conference clash with Western New England by scoring back-to-back wins against Nichols College (35-20) and the University of New England (48-6).

This week, their season is somewhat on the line as they must beat Endicott College to remain in the mix for the Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC) crown.

Endicott beat Salve Regina in their last meeting in 2019 – the game was held in Newport, Rhode Island – while the Seahawks beat the Gulls on their home turf one year later.

Look for Salve Regina to lean on its ground game like they did last week against Nichols, which saw halfback Joey Mauriello rush for a game-high 203 yards on 30 carries and three touchdowns (all three scores occurred in the third quarter last week against the Bison).

New England Small College Football Conference Race Watch (Week Eight)

Isaiah Cashwell-Doe and the Springfield College football team head into the eighth week of the 2021 season with a great deal of momentum. (PHOTO COURTESY: Springfield College Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

Seven weeks of New England small college football are in the books.

And with four weeks remaining in the regular season, it is time to highlight – and yes, share some thoughts, too – on the various conference races to watch in both Division II and Division III.

Let’s begin with the Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10).


Northeast-10 Conference (NE-10)

The Leader: Bentley University (7-0, 5-0)

In the Hunt: Assumption College (3-3, 3-1), University of New Haven (5-1, 4-0), and Stonehill College (5-1, 3-1)

Matchup(s) to watch this week:

  • New Haven at Stonehill (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • American International College at Assumption College (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)

Synopsis: The Falcons will be idle this upcoming weekend but have stretched their winning streak from 2019 to 12 games, thanks to a 34-20-win last Saturday against Southern Connecticut. Bentley has been impressive thus far — they appear destined to repeat as conference champions, but they will face some challenges over the final few weeks, especially in November when they compete against Assumption (again) and New Haven (the Falcons’ win earlier this season against the Greyhounds was a non-league victory).

New Haven is also a team to watch — like Bentley, they have yet to drop a conference game this fall, but will be challenged over the next few weeks, including this Saturday when they visit Stonehill.


Commonwealth Coast Football (CCC)

The Leader: Endicott College (6-1, 3-0)

In the Hunt: Husson University (4-2, 1-1), Salve Regina University (6-1, 2-1), University of New England (3-2, 1-1), and Western New England (4-3, 2-1)

Matchup(s) to watch this week:

  • Endicott at Salve Regina (Oct. 23 at 12 p.m.)
  • Husson at UNE (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • Nichols College at Western New England (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)

Synopsis: Endicott enters the fourth week of conference play with a great deal of momentum heading into an important matchup with Salve Regina. A win against the Seahawks would provide the Green and White with the inside track to the conference crown.

Endicott beat Salve Regina in 2019 by six points (30-24) but lost to the Seahawks one year earlier after beating Western New England.

A win for the Seahawks would make the next few weeks rather interesting, despite suffering a 41-3 setback to Western New England earlier this month.

Western New England rebounded from its 45-21 setback to Endicott with a 23-10 win over Curry College — they will be the favorite heading into this week’s matchup with the Bison.

The winner of Husson-UNE will remain in the mix with one conference setback.


Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC)

The Leaders: Anna Maria College (4-1, 2-0) and Gallaudet University (5-0, 3-0)

In the Hunt: Alfred State (2-4, 1-1) and Castleton University (3-3, 1-1)

Matchup(s) to watch this week:

  • Alfred State at Gallaudet (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • Dean College at Anna Maria (Oct. 23 at 1:30 p.m.)

Synopsis: If things remain the way they are currently in two weeks, then Anna Maria-Gallaudet in Paxton, Massachusetts will be the game that most likely decides the conference champion.

Both Anna Maria and Gallaudet appear to be the “teams to beat” heading into the eighth week of the season, but the Pioneers of Alfred State can change that with a win on Saturday in Washington, D.C.

Like Alfred State, Castleton is still in the mix, too, but they must win their remaining contests so they can keep pace with Anna Maria and Gallaudet.


Elijah Nichols and the Framingham State Rams have won their last five contests. (PHOTO COURTESY: Frank Poulin Photograph)

Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC)

The Leaders: Framingham State (5-2, 5-0) and Bridgewater State (4-2, 4-0)

Matchup to watch this week:

  • Westfield State at Bridgewater State (Oct. 23 at 4 p.m.)

Synopsis: The Bears and Rams have yet to drop a single conference contest while a few teams have suffered two or three setbacks.

So, these are the two teams to watch over the next few weeks – the Rams are idle this weekend but will conclude the month by visiting Massachusetts Maritime Academy while Bridgewater State will play back-to-back games at home against Westfield State and UMass Dartmouth.  

After hosting the Corsairs, the Bears will visit Framingham State with the outcome most likely deciding who will represent the conference in the NCAA Division III Tournament.

Framingham State has scored two important wins against UMass Dartmouth and Western Connecticut while Bridgewater State has only beaten one of those teams.

While Bridgewater State and Framingham State will certainly be the two teams to watch over the next few weeks, keep your eyes on UMass Dartmouth down the stretch as they could possibly conclude the season in second place, as well as secure a bid to the New England Bowl.


New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC)

The Leaders: Trinity College (5-0, 5-0), Wesleyan University (5-0, 5-0), and Williams College (5-0, 5-0)

In the Hunt: Amherst College (3-2, 3-2)

Matchup(s) to watch this week:

  • Williams College at Bates College (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • Trinity College at Colby College (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)
  • Middlebury College at Wesleyan University (Oct. 23 at 1 p.m.)

Synopsis: The final four weeks of the NESCAC are going to be interesting – maybe we should not overlook Amherst College, which has won three of five matchups this fall?

The Mammoths, along with the Bantams, Cardinals, and Ephs will all compete against each other during the final three weeks, which makes us think that maybe the Purple and White could play spoiler to these three undefeated teams. Perhaps they finish second or third?

Trinity has been fun to watch (and follow), but rather impressive from what we have watched on film. The same could be said for coach Mark Raymond’s Ephs.

As for Wesleyan – sorry, the “Cardiac Cardinals” – they have found ways to win games, especially these last three weeks against Bates, Bowdoin College, and Tufts University.

The Bantams are “the team” we believe will finish with either eight or nine wins, along with the conference crown, but anything is possible – get ready for an exciting ending to the 2021 NESCAC football season!  


New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)

The Leaders: Catholic University (5-2, 3-0), Springfield College (3-3, 2-0), and United States Merchant Marine Academy (6-0, 3-0)  

Matchup(s) to watch this week:

  • Springfield at WPI (Oct. 23 at 12 p.m.)
  • Catholic at Merchant Marine (Oct. 23 at 12 p.m.)

Synopsis: Before every NEWMAC team began competing against each other, the Mariners of Merchant Marine appeared to be well on their way to securing the league title. But things have changed.

Heading into this weekend, the Mariners are one of three teams that have yet to lose a conference matchup – this week, Merchant Marine hosts Catholic in a very important contest that we’ll be watching from afar.

Catholic has been a great story this season – the Cardinals have won five of seven matchups thus far, including a non-league tilt with Endicott College last month. Their two setbacks came against Randolph-Macon College and Christopher Newport University, but it seems as if both losses provide the Cardinals with a better understanding of what they must do to be successful once conference play commenced.

After starting its season with a 1-3 record, the Pride of Springfield have rebounded by winning back-to-back games against Coast Guard Academy (60-0) and Norwich University (56-7), thanks to an impressive ground attack that is led by Isaiah Cashwell-Doe, Patrick Ladas, and Tim Callahan.

Look for the ground game to carry Springfield to their fourth win on Saturday when the Pride heads to Worcester to compete against WPI.